Faith Healing death in Oregon – parents charged with manslaughter
Creswell, Oregon: Faith healing couple charged with manslaughter in the death of 16-year-old Austin Lewis Sprout. Authorities claim Sprout died from a treatable condition after the couple failed to seek appropriate medical attention for the teen, choosing prayer over modern medicine.
On Friday, Brandi Shaunai Bellew, Sprout’s mother, and Russel Lewis Bellew, Sprout’s stepfather, were arrested following a seven-week investigation into the death of 16-year-old Austin Sprout.
Earlier this week
, a Lane County grand jury issued an indictment charging the Bellews with second-degree manslaughter, a charge that carries a mandatory minimum prison term of 6 years, 3 months upon conviction.
Sprout died on December 20. Investigators have yet to reveal the cause of death, but claim medical professionals have indicated that Sprout’s condition was “highly treatable
Before he died, Sprout was a junior at Creswell High School, and a member of the school’s basketball team.
Brandi and Russel Bellew are members of the General Assembly Church of the First Born, a faith healing church that has been implicated in the death
of numerous children over the years. And apparently, the faith healing church is also implicated in the death of two other members of Sprout’s family.
The Register Guard
reports that Sheriff’s detectives investigated two other relatively recent deaths involving Sprout’s family. In 2007, Sprout’s biological father, Brian Sprout, died at age 35 of sepsis related to a complication from a leg injury. Investigators found that Brian Sprout had not sought medical treatment before he died, but that didn’t constitute a crime because he was an adult.
In addition, Austin Sprout’s grandmother, Mary Sprout of Creswell, died in 2010 of acute myeloid leukemia, a relatively common cancer that is curable with appropriate medical attention, according to the National Institutes of Health.
the Oregon House or Representatives voted to end legal protection for parents who choose faith healing over modern medicine to treat their sick child. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office has estimated that in the past 30 years, more than 20 children of faith healing church members have died of preventable or curable conditions.